What was long rumored was confirmed on Thursday by the USSF, who announced that the United States national team would play Argentina at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey on March 26th. The USSF then tossed another nugget in there with an announcement that on March 29th the United States would play Paraguay at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.
The two matches both fall on FIFA international dates so clubs will be required to release all players called in for national team duty, making it likely that the matches will be played with each team's top players. With the United States gearing up for the Gold Cup in the summer and Argentina and Paraguay getting ready for Copa America, the teams are expected to take the matches as an opportunity to build their squads for their respective confederation championships.
"Argentina continues to be one of the most talented teams in the world, and we are excited to have the opportunity to compete against them," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "Paraguay showed during the World Cup that they are a creative and organized team capable of being very dangerous in the attack. Both of these matches give us a chance to continue to raise the bar for our team, and it will also be a great part of our preparation for the Gold Cup."
The last time the United States played Argentina was in June of 2008 when the two teams squared off at Giants Stadium, which was imploded just steps away from the New Meadowlands Stadium. The match was played in front of 78,682 fans and in a second half rain, but despite plenty of chances, neither team could muster a goal and it finished as a draw. In March, Argentina will return to New Jersey to play the U.S. and with La Albiceleste comes the star power of Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria, Javier Mascherano and more. The match will kick off at 7 pm EST and will be televised in the United States on ESPN2 and Univision.
While they may not have the star power of the Argentinians, Paraguay was a World Cup quarterfinalist in South Africa and finished even on points with Chile for second in CONMEBOL qualifying, which is nothing to sneeze at. Led by Christian Riveros and Antolin Alcaraz, Paraguay will present the United States with a second stern test, especially for the Yanks defense, which has struggled and will be forced to deal with a potent Paraguayan attack. The last time the two teams played was at Copa America in 2007, when Paraguay beat a young U.S. team that lacked its best players, 3-1. The match will kick off at 8 pm EST and will be televised in the United States on ESPN Networks and TeleFutura.